No Greymarket For The iPhone

The usual cast and crew of operation greymarket are out of luck with the iPhone, according to the Boston Globe. Unlike Nintendo and their still-scarce Wii, Apple appears to be meeting demand. From the Boston Globe:

David Flashner thought he had it wired: Buy two iPhones last Friday when they first went on sale, keep one, and sell the other at a profit so big it would pay for most of the first one.

Flashner wasted no time. He began advertising the extra phone while still in line at an Apple store in Burlingame, Calif., south of San Francisco. During his 21-hour wait, he posted half a dozen different ads on Craigslist — with prices ranging from $800 to $1,200 — and waited for the calls to come in.

But no calls came because consumers expect that stores will soon have phones in stock. He continued to advertise the extra phone through the weekend, and ended up with just one call, which went nowhere. On Wednesday, he returned the phone.

One seasoned greymarket profiteer claimed that electronics were too risky and that he’d stick to Red Sox/Yankees tickets from now on.

Reselling an iPhone? Bad news [Boston Globe]
(Photo: TheeErin)


Edit Your Comment

  1. esqdork says:

    scalpers = parasites

  2. shoegazer says:

    &lt nelson&gt

    HA, Ha! You suck at arbitrage!


  3. scoobydoo says:

    Surely these dorks learned a lesson from the PS3?

  4. adrock75 says:

    I can’t help but not feel sorry for these morons.

  5. Landru says:

    this is old news.

  6. Slytherin says:

    David Flashner is a greedy bastard.

  7. dbeahn says:

    I wish Apple had gone with an “all sales are final” policy for launch, so these idiots would really be stuck for being jackasses.

  8. Boston Kevin says:

    I’m confused, this exact same article was in the New York Times this morning. Are the Times and the Globe re-publishing each other’s stories these days?

  9. bluemeep says:

    Here’s hoping there was a restocking fee!


  10. Canadian Impostor says:

    I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with scalping, but I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with laughing at people who suck at it.

  11. Thrust says:

    Greymarket f**ktards should be shot.

    Words of wisdom. Never buy fancy electronics their first six months of release. You typically save a small amount of cash for waiting (more if you’re the sucker-types who buy from scalpers), no lines or hassles, and less lemons.

  12. nakmario says:

    @Boston Kevin,

    This is probably an AP NEWS release and was just re-released by the two partner newspapers.

  13. Sathallrin says:

    Glad I don’t live in a busy place where there were lines outside the stores to get iPhones. Here there were no lines and the store had plenty in stock for everyone that wanted one.

  14. astrochimp says:

    I’m more concerned about whether there’s a greymarket for greywater.

  15. Charybdis says:

    It’s too bad Ms $100,000 didn’t get her phones. Watching her try to return a hundred phones would have been hilarious.

  16. loudguitars says:

    @ Boston Kevin and @ Nakmario, the NY Times Company actually owns the Boston Globe, so they share a lot of reporting resources. All the Tribune newspapers (like the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times) do this a lot as well, with the same reporter taking a “The LA Times” and “The Chicago Tribune” under their byline on the same story in different papers.

    In more related news, the scalpers were gambling that Apple wouldn’t be able to keep up with supply. Sometimes you win that gamble (Wii), but much more often, you lose (PS3, iPhone).

  17. grizzman says:

    I’m one of “those jackasses.”

    I still have an iphone sitting at home unopened. It didn’t sell last weekend on Ebay, but I have another week to return it so I’m waiting just in case Apple runs out.

    Why so angry people? If someone wants to pay $1000 for an iphone then so be it. You’d be surprised what people will buy on Ebay and how much they’ll pay for it.

    And sorry Bluemeep, no restocking fees if it’s returned unopened.

  18. chili_dog says:

    Greymarket = entrepreneurial spirit.

  19. cnc1019 says:


    I don’t think anyone is angry that you are trying to make money. What makes them angry is when someone goes and purchases a final product with the sole reason to resell it for a large profit. I was pissed at my friends when we were all able to get face value tickets the the 2006 Rose Bowl yet they were planning on selling their pair for profit. There were students that wanted to go and couldn’t because of their greed. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of friends either.

  20. Thrust says:

    @chili_dog: Can also be said it’s the Con-artist spirit.

  21. Alger says:

    @grizzman: I think people are angry because when people do this it makes shortages worse … or even creates them where they wouldn’t have existed.

    And it makes the lines longer.

  22. dvddesign says:

    I can’t openly hate on someone who given that I resold a Wii and a PS3 over the holidays, but at least I did research into stock availability.

    I’d seen multiple sources that said that both would be huge sellouts. And I was right.

    What wasn’t in my research were how many jackholes there were out there ruining it all. I’ve flipped consoles plenty of times in the past at abou 10% profit on my part. I sell a $200 console and pocket about $20 after ebay fees. This held true with the PS3, fortunately, but it was a nightmare to get rid of. Every moron on eBay had it figured that they could resell theirs for $1,000 or more. It might have worked in 2000 for the PS2, but that certainly wasn’t the case here.

    This guy is a dope for not doing his research.

  23. Slytherin says:

    I just find it pathetic that people waited 12 hours + for a stupid phone. That’s just SO sad.

  24. exkon says:

    Just like the stupid lady who bought that kids first place in line, thinking she could buy all the iphones in the store and hock them on ebay.

  25. Vinny says:

    I love that Apple is keeping the supply high enough to price these scumbags right out of their profiteering scheme.

  26. tomok97 says:

    You might not believe this but I know someone that did this same thing but it was with a house! Yeah, they bought a house and then resold it for more money. Those greedy bastards.

  27. Peeved Guy says:

    @Slytherin: “I just find it pathetic that people waited 12 hours +” paid $600 + ” for a stupid phone. That’s just SO sad.”

    Thought I’d amend that for ya.

    I don’t mind the Greymarket folks so much. I never buy into the hype of a product and need to but it upon release, so they don’t take anything away from me (money or the product). Also, I figure that if they can find a sucker to pay up to 2x the price of something, power to ’em.

  28. nobodygrrl says:

    Except that it’s not “grey market”, it’s just selling a product in the secondary market. A “grey market” sale typically occurs when someone unaffiliated with the manufacturer/supplier sells a product that is not intended for distribution in that market, because of legal restrictions, different models, compatibility, etc. Think “Mexican” Coke, European videos, Asian cigarettes, etc.

    Buying 2 iPhones and trying to flip one doesn’t make someone a grey market dealer unless they’re selling an iPhone that’s not supposed to be sold in the US.

  29. Pelagius says:

    @grizzman: Maybe because they would have preferred to have purchased the gadget/ticket at the set retail price, not the marked up value due to scarcity because profiteering douchebags bought out everything in the store.
    Of course, anyone desperate enough to pay 200% or more for a piece of plastic and semiconductor so that they can have it RIGHT NOW RIGHT AWAY is probably such a slavering idiot that they deserve whatever gouging comes to them.

  30. Hawk07 says:

    I know Saturday night, roughly 28 hours or so after release, I found several auctions going at prices where it was impossible to make any money off after Ebay + Paypal + Overnight shipping fees.

    Good for Apple though in undercutting all these sellers (especially the one lady who wanted to buy $16,000 in iPhones to turn a “huge” profit on ebay).

  31. mathew says:

    I fucking hate scalpers, whether it’s domain scalpers or Wii scalpers. I waited until I could buy my Wii from a retail store, and I picked a domain name that wasn’t being scalped. I will not contribute to the scalper problem.

    The domain name system is actually a great example of a market where there wouldn’t be any shortages if it wasn’t for the scalpers. Just look at how many placeholder domains are out there.

  32. masterdave says:

    I don’t really mind the people who think it’s the best thing EVER to scalp things and re-sell them for “market value”…

    but return policies have to be ammended for things like this to completely hump the people who do it to consumer electronics, much like the no-return ticket scalpings. You want to scalp 200 iphones? Go ahead! No returns, eat a loss! Ticket brokers don’t get a pass when a show sells badly, unless it gets cancelled.

    So, I think the shitbags who try and artificially raise the price of consumer electronics should learn the same lessons that ticket scalpers have to realize, and that it’s not just pure money for sitting in a line for a while. Too bad there’d be some kinda of unholy uprising on this blog and elsewhere if you suddenly couldn’t take back some piece of electronics without paying a restocking fee.